The Vice President of Bharat’s official twitter handle made an interesting tweet last night –
Yoga has no religion. It is an art as well as a science.
— Vice President of India (@VPSecretariat) August 6, 2020
In recent times, as Yoga has grown in popularity in the West, this point of view has also grown. Western neo-colonisers are always looking to appropriate, secularise and commercialise Hindu knowledge systems and sacred practises, although fundamentalist Christians understand Yoga’s Hindu roots and hence claim it is ‘demonic’.
The modern English-educated Hindu lacks knowledge of their own Dharma and its religious, cultural, philosophical and other attributes. Centuries of colonisation followed by sustained deracination and denigration by the secular state, academia and media has induced guilt and self-loathing.
So when they see a Westerner practise Yoga, being either ignorant or apologetic about their roots, they quickly accept the definition of Yoga as a ‘secular’ activity devoid of any religious connotations. Nothing Hindu could be really worthwhile, their sub-conscious believes, so if Yoga is promoted as an ‘Indian science’ which has physical and physiological benefits it would have more acceptance, is their thinking.
However, the truth remains that Yoga is a fundamental part of Hindu Dharma – it is a practise where the final goal is the union of the individual’s atma with the universal paramatma. If one practises just the initial step of Yoga, i.e. hatha yoga asanas, they will derive physical benefits, and are free to practise it just for that limited goal. But one must always do it with a sense of gratitude to the Hindu seers like Rishi Patañjali who devised the Yoga Sutras and countless others who preserved and spread the practise over millennia.
And the VP is not alone, even someone like Jaggi Vasudev Sadhguru who is otherwise doing good work in spreading Dharma among the deracinated elites holds the confused notion that ‘If Yoga Is Hindu, Then Gravity Is Christian.’ And the VP had expressed a similar thought few months back when he said, “Yoga is not a religion, it is a science.”
Many twitterati stepped forward to correct this notion:
— Sandeep Balakrishna (@dharmadispatch) August 7, 2020
Please read and share with the Hon'ble Vice President.https://t.co/QuVO0tglxa— Sankrant Sanu सानु संक्रान्त ਸੰਕ੍ਰਾਂਤ ਸਾਨੁ (@sankrant) August 7, 2020
An effort to appropriate and secularize something sacred. It’s another way of saying Yoga isn’t part of Sanatana Dharma & Hinduism. Yes it can be just a good workout for some but to suggest it’s not rooted or flows from our religion is irresponsible. https://t.co/vcns4imotN— Patrick Brauckmann (♻️ from Kannada to Canada) (@vonbrauckmann) August 6, 2020
Sir please check your facts.— Rita ?? (@RitaG74) August 6, 2020
Yoga has deep roots in Hinduism. Yoga is the result of centuries of deep scientific research of Hindu saints.
Yoga Sutra 1.27, “Tasya Vachakah pranavah”, meaning ॐ or AUM (Pranava) is the syllable for remembering Ishvara.— Deepa (@DeePra6) August 6, 2020
Unless one is denying pranava, or OM is not Hindu, by definition Yoga has a religion. ?
Never forget. Yoga stands on the firm shoulders of Dharma.— Srinivasan (@Sriniva97913531) August 7, 2020
Go to Kerala and you can see advertisements of jsus yoga. If you don't claim it, western marketing crooks will patent it!
The roots of yoga, it's scriptural origin, are Vedas, is Hindu. The stem of yoga, its practice, is Hindu and the Meditation part of Yoga, union with Almighty Ishwara, is Hindu. Yoga in its full glory is entirely Hindu. Which can be performed by ANY RELIGION.— Varun Agrawal (@varunsden) August 7, 2020
Most absurd tweet by Mr. Naidu yet. Hinduism is not religion but in todays context is addressed as religion. Yoga is power of the Yogis. If Yoga Yogi Shastr and Satya are part of any civilisation, its Only & Only the first & the most advanced Hindu civilisation. No sales talk pl.— S. P. Sajeev Kumar (@spsajeev) August 7, 2020
Hon'ble VP sir, please do not misappropriate & disown the origins of Yoga from Sanatan. It would be very dishonest to rip Yoga of its Hindu values, practitioners & centuries of Sanatan knowledge associated with it. Such dishonesty wont certify nor satisfy "secularism"— Amar | अमर (@AMARelicious) August 7, 2020
On one hand USA is petenting everything from India whether ayurvedic medicines or different yogic postures. They have petented a lot of it already by just changing the name & on the other hand we have VP sir openly renouncing our cultural & religious link with yoga! Really sad!— Ketan Hemnani (@ketanhemnani96) August 7, 2020
It is heartening to see so many articulate and insightful responses to the VP. It shows that we are finally entering a post-colonial Bharat, but our political, bureaucratic and intellectual class has a lot of catching up to do!
Did you find this article useful? We’re a non-profit. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.